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Health, risk and politics / The Myth of Zero Risk

Anno XXXII, n. 139, marzo-aprile 1997
Centro Einaudi


Testo disponibile solo in lingua inglese.
The EPA’s regulatory efforts to reduce already minor human exposure to synthetic chemicals, such as pesticide residues, erroneously regarded as an important cause of cancer, are proving hugely expensive – some 2,000 dollars per American family per year – in so far as they attempt to eliminate only minuscule concentrations. The author argues that such efforts have their own health costs since are a diversion from the more important major task of improving health by increasing knowledge and public understanding of how lifestyle (proper diet especially) affects health. As the world cannot be risk-free and resources are limited, society must set its own priorities, identifying the most dangerous risks in order to save lives. Such policy choices should therefore be based on hard scientific knowledge as opposed to mere ‘folklore’, as sometimes appears to be the case.